Pelton: Blazers GM Neil Olshey Should Be Busy After Joel Freeland Injury

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

One analyst believes Portland Trail Blazers GM Neil Olshey will be exploring all options after Joel Freeland went down with a knee injury.

Kevin Pelton of ESPN.com (Insider) writes that Portland Trail Blazers GM Neil Olshey will be exploring all options after the Blazers lost forward/center Joel Freeland for four-to-eight weeks to a knee injury.

Portland could land a big score by offering rookie guard C.J. McCollum, the No. 10 overall pick who scored 15 points in 27 minutes off the bench against Oklahoma City, but it would make no sense to move the promising McCollum for a short-term upgrade. That might leave the Blazers scrounging through the bargain bin, with impending free agents like Chris Kaman (L.A. Lakers), Dante Cunningham (Minnesota) and Greg Stiemsma (New Orleans) as potential options. Or they could take on a longer, more troublesome contract like the one belonging to the Boston Celtics' Brandon Bass, who will make $6.9 million next season.

Whatever strategy Portland eventually chooses, expect GM Neil Olshey to be busy over the week-plus left before the deadline. Freeland's injury leaves the Blazers little choice but to make a move to maintain their unexpected spot among the West's contenders.

Pelton's full piece is right here.

Freeland suffered a right MCL sprain during a Tuesday night loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Thoughts on the fallout were posted here.

Freeland, 27, is averaging 3.3 points and 3.9 rebounds per game in his second NBA season.

Prior to Freeland's injury, the Blazers were expected to have a quiet trade deadline season.

Coach Terry Stotts said recently that he "doesn't anticipate" any roster moves coming.

"We can and we need to improve defensively with what we have now, because I don't anticipate any roster changes," Stotts said. "Our growth is going to have to come from within. Our young players are going to have to continue to improve, our starters are going to have to continue to remain engaged, and we have shown - we would not have the record that we have if it were not for our defense. We have played very good defense in spots, but we have just not been consistent with it."

Those comments fall in line with earlier statements from Blazers owner Paul Allen back in January.

I think we're looking more at internal development, what changes we can make or tweaks we can make. I don't think we're looking at any blockbuster trades or anything like that. Although we always listen.

The Blazers currently have a full 15-man roster.

The trade deadline is Feb. 20.

-- Ben Golliver | benjamin.golliver@gmail.com | Twitter

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